Bulgaria was the best spontaneous decision I have made so far in my trip. The Balkans are a lovely group of countries with incredible mountains, history and coastline. Bulgaria doesn’t use the euro, their currency is the Lev (BGN). It is consistently half the Euro, so €2 is equal to one Lev. So for me and my Australian dollar it was actually a really good country to pick money wise.
Where did I go?
I stayed in the capital city, Sofia. This was where my original flight was passing through so it seemed like a good idea. Also for a night I headed out to Varna; a small coastal town on the Black Sea.
Where did I stay?
Sofia – Hostel 123, the accommodation here was €30 for all five nights that I was in Sofia. A great brand new hostel. Everyone was very friendly and because it was still new and getting set up there wasn’t really a TV or any distractions like that so I ended up meeting some really cool people and having a really great time (more on that later).
Varna – Gagarin House, this accommodation was really basic but the staff were extremely accommodating, very helpful and the facilities were pretty good too. Only cost €9 for the night that I was there.
Where did I eat?
Sofia – breakfast was included and they did it later than most places so I was actually able to make it most of the time. Regardless, Hostel 123 had a kitchen which meant I could have oats and bread and sandwiches and that sort of thing. Because Sofia is so cheap, I checked out a few vegan places around the city. Loving Hut & Sun and Moon were my favourites. Sun and Moon had amazing massive portions for less than €6! Loving Hut had cheap smoothies which was refreshing considering it had been weeks since I’d had vegetables.
Varna – I was only there for one night so I had a whole lot of fruit bought from stores in Sofia on my way to the bus station and I took some vegan pesto that I had bought a few days earlier. I bought some pasta, canned veggies and beans and made an amazing home made dish with little effort, little price and little time.
What did I do?
A lot and nothing at the same time.
Sofia – it’s very much a walking city. Most of the sights are old buildings, cathedrals and parks so it’s very accessible and extremely affordable. All the cathedrals in Sofia are free to the public so you can always walk in and have a look around. A lot of my days were spent walking all around the city, enjoying the parks, and just taking in the atmosphere of the city. It’s not necessarily a city with a lot of sights and if you wanted to you could do everything in just a couple of days but I had 4 days in Sofia and I just wanted to enjoy my time and really take in the feel of the city rather than just the look.
Varna – very similar to Sofia except I only really had one night and one half day to walk around here. There are a few things to see, I paid around 5 Lev (€2-3) to go into the Roman Thermae and check out the ruins there. There’s a lot of museums and of course the Black Sea. Also, like Sofia there’s a major cathedral which is one of the main attractions and it’s free to enter as well. Varna is a very walkable city and it has a lot to offer. I wish I had’ve stayed longer to be honest because I saw the main attractions but I didn’t really get to experience a lot of aspects about the city. It was a very rushed trip as well. Another city on the Black Sea coastline in Bulgaria is Burgas.
I know I said that Greece was pretty affordable, but comparatively, Bulgaria was amazingly affordable! Pretty much half price for everything. I was spending less than 15 Lev on food easily (roughly €8) per day and like I said, accommodation is super cheap as well. It’s an amazing country that is very underrated. I would recommend asking the place you’re staying at to help you book bus tickets and things because most of the websites are in Bulgarian and it’s usually cheaper to buy online if you want to make a trip around. My bus trips were about 20 Lev each way but it was definitely worth it, I’d just give yourself some more time to check out the area you’re going to.
I hope you’re more inspired to check out Bulgaria now and that you’re more informed about doing it on a tight budget! All in all, I could’ve spent weeks in this country. There are so many incredible mountain ranges and cities worth seeing and I’m looking forward to going back! Next guide coming will be for London, UK. So that will be interesting! In the meantime feel free to check out my YouTube channel where I’m posting daily videos of what I’m doing, what I’m eating, what I’m spending, and that kind of thing. Also the series on the countries I’ve been to will be coming out once I am able to catch up on editing everything! I’ll keep you in the loop but thanks for reading this far and I’ll have another post out shortly!
Jax Goes OUT.
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